A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) along with abortion providers and reproductive justice organizations is challenging several medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion which have been passed in the last 10 years. The suit was filed in Wake County Superior Court.
These restrictions have pushed abortion out of reach in N.C. and have stigmatized essential health care. The suit holds that the restrictions deny basic rights guaranteed under the North Carolina Constitution and disproportionately impact communities of color, especially Black communities, along with rural communities.
According to the ACLU-NC, the challenged restrictions include these five.
- A licensing scheme that arbitrarily singles out abortion providers with medically unnecessary and onerous requirements;
- A ban on qualified advanced practice clinicians (APCs), such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives from providing abortions;
- A ban on the use of telehealth for medical abortions;
- A requirement that providers deliver state-mandated biased counseling with no medical benefit to their patients and which, in some cases, could do harm;
- A mandatory delay for patients seeking an abortion of at least 72 hours after they receive state-mandated information.
It is significant that this case is has been in a North Carolina court instead of a federal court and that protection of women’s rights is being sought under the North Carolina Constitution instead of the U.S. Constitution. With the issue of abortion being used as a litmus test for the appointment of federal judges, there is reason to believe that this lawsuit will fare better in state than in federal court.
By Robin Davis, Vice President for Political Action